Laying it all on the Altar

A devotional by Reverend Dr. Kevin Schwamb

This past Tuesday in France, an 84 year-old Roman Catholic priest was killed by two self-confessed soldiers of the Islamic State.  The reaction around the world, to his senseless murder, has run the gamut from anger to disbelief.  However, those familiar with the first four books in the New Testament may recall that Jesus warned His disciples, on many occasions, that if they hated Him they will also hate you.  So for centuries, disciples of Christ have endured oppression, persecution, and even martyrdom in the name of obedience.

In the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25) Jesus pulls the Twelve aside and tells them about events that will precede His second coming.  The discourse includes a list of signs, some of which would occur in their lifetime (the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70) and others that are yet to be fulfilled (the coming of the Antichrist).  Knowing that the best is yet to come, Jesus promises that “…the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Rather than feeling at home in this world, let’s remember that God has called us to be faithful to Him at all costs.  When we hear news of our brothers and sisters in Christ being persecuted, we should respond by praying for them and praising God that those seen as unworthy by the world are valued and precious in His sight.  May we all be ready and willing, each day, to be living sacrifices as we pursue our calling to be servants of Jesus Christ.